David C. Stark

David C. Stark

Biographical Notes

David Stark is Arthur Lehman Professor of Sociology at Columbia University where he directs the Center on Organizational Innovation. He is also Professor of Social Science at the University of Warwick. Stark uses a variety of methods to study problems of valuation, innovation, and observation.

Stark is currently directing a major research project on Diversity and Performance: Networks of Cognition in Markets and Teams supported by a five-year Advanced Career Award from the European Research Council. The project studies the network properties of cognition as organizations face three challenges of detecting error, allocating attention, and organizing innovation. Stark also directs a series of international workshops on Performances of Value: Competition and Competitions Inside and Outside Markets supported by a grant from The Leverhulme Trust.

In his book, The Sense of Dissonance: Accounts of Worth in Economic Life (Princeton University Press, 2009), Stark carried out ethnographic research in three distinct settings to study how organizations and their members search for what is valuable. Dissonance – disagreement about the principles of worth – can lead to discovery.  He recently co-edited Moments of Valuation: Exploring Sites of Dissonance (Oxford University Press, 2015).

With continuous support from the National Sciences Foundation since 2000, Stark and his collaborators are contributing to the field of economic sociology. With Balazs Vedres he has published papers on historical and cultural network analysis in the American Journal of Sociology 2006, 2010, and 2015) and the American Sociological Review  2012). With ethnographer Daniel Beunza he has contributed to the social studies of finance. With Co-PI Matteo Prato, Stark is  working at the intersection of observation theory and network analysis to study how valuation is shaped by networks of attention.

With Sheen Levine, he used experimental methods for a study, “Ethnic Diversity Deflates Price Bubbles” (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) and “Diversity Makes you Brighter” (an OpEd piece in the New York Times). 

Stark collaborated with art photographer Nancy Warner to publish This Place, These People: Life and Shadow on the Great Plains (Columbia University Press, 2014).

Stark was named a Guggenheim Fellow in 2002 and was awarded an honorary doctorate from the École normale supérieure de Cachan in 2013. He has been a visiting fellow at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris; the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in Palo Alto; the Institute for Advanced Study in Hangzhou, China; the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne; the Copenhagen Business School; the Netherlands Institute of Advanced Study; the Russell Sage Foundation in New York City; the Institute of Advanced Study in Durham, UK; the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand; the European University Institute in Florence; the Institute for Advanced Study/Collegium Budapest; the Center for the Social Sciences in Berlin; and the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna.

Education

Ph.D., Harvard, 1982

Publications

ARTICLES

2015

  • Game Changer: The Topology of Creativity. American Journal of Sociology, 120(4):1144-1194, January 2015 (with Mathijs de Vaan and Balazs Vedres).

2014

  • Ethnic Diversity Deflates Price Bubbles. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(52): 185240-18529, December 30, 2014 (with Sheen S. Levine, Evan P. Apfelbaum, Mark Bernard, Valerie L. Bartelt, and Edward J. Zajac).

BOOKS

2015

  • Moments of Valuation: Exploring Sites of Dissonance. Co-editor with Ariane Berthoine Antal and Michael Hutter. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2015.